“One of the more absurd complaints leveled against President Bush during his tumultuous tenure in office is that, in combating terrorism, he’s eviscerated the Constitution. This hysteria is not confined to critics in the blogosphere or strident left-wing magazines such as the Nation but is found, as well, in mass-market newspapers and magazines. A citizen who reads, in a vacuum, editorials and oped columnists in the New York Times, say, might believe that since September 11 America, led by the Bush administration, has become a police state.”

So writes the always interesting Russ Smith. But you want to know who’s really shredding the constitution?

“[Newsweek scribe and talking head Jonathan Alter] essay [on Bush] is a role reversal of sorts: On election night in 2000, Mr. Alter, perhaps sleep deprived, was seen on MSNBC in the wee hours fairly ranting that Vice President Gore was cheated and should be granted the presidency because he won the popular vote. Unless I’m mistaken, that seems to be an example of ‘shredding’ the Constitution.”

And why do folks like Jon Alter get by saying this stuff?

“Public and private education has devolved to such a point that it’s not surprising few people are familiar with President Wilson’s actions during World War I, but it’s disgraceful that supposedly learned journalists, professors, and politicians are either ignorant of his policies or conveniently choose to ignore them.”

This is a terrific column and you should read the whole thing.